Around the world the coronavirus pandemic has rewritten rules and forced all of us to reimagine the way we live and how we interact with friends, family, and our community. It’s no surprise then that the pandemic has tested teachers’ resilience. In a matter of weeks, teachers had to adapt to a new model and come up with ways to ensure early learners keep learning and growing—all while managing their own personal challenges. At CentroNía we are incredibly grateful for the amazing teachers who continue to show up for our children each day. This month we are highlighting the resilience and dedication of one such teacher, Señora Fidelina.
Born and raised in El Salvador, Sra. Fidelina arrived in the United States 23 years ago. Before learning about CentroNía she was a caregiver at home, but she yearned for something new. Following advice from several friends, Sra. Fidelina joined a Child Development Associate program in 2005 and began pursuing a career as an early childhood teacher. This soon led her to CentroNía when Sra. Fidelina reached out in the hopes of serving as a classroom volunteer to acquire the necessary hours to complete her certification process. After two months as a volunteer, CentroNía offered Sra. Fidelina a full-time position.
For the past 15 years, Sra. Fidelina has taught primarily infants and toddlers, children ages 18-24 months. “CentroNía was the first place to open its doors for me and I am so grateful to be part of an organization where love and respect prevail.” Like many teachers, Sra. Fidelina’s routine was uprooted when the pandemic exploded in March of 2020. CentroNía was forced to close its doors during the citywide lockdown and teachers transitioned to a virtual model.
“Teaching toddlers and infants through a computer is not the easiest thing! Thankfully, parents were incredibly supportive throughout the transition. We are so grateful for them!”
Once CentroNía reopened in June of 2020, Sra. Fidelina was relieved and excited to be back in the classroom teaching and learning with her students. Although the classroom experience was transformed to maintain the safety of children and staff, Sra. Fidelina and her colleagues created new ways for students to learn and socialize with their peers while keeping them safe. “The new safety protocols were completely new for us; we had to divide our students into two groups but little by little we started to learn how to live in the new normal. But, of course, we still miss interacting with parents every day and talking to them about their child’s day.”
On a personal level, 2020 was extremely hard for Sra. Fidelina. She suffered the unexpected loss of her younger son who was only 18 years old. “The pain of losing a child is something someone can never really recover from, but the support from my family, my colleagues, and the smiles of the children I teach everyday keeps me going!”
CentroNía is grateful to have inspiring, dedicated teachers like Sra. Fidelina who, despite life challenges, remain steadfast in their love and passion for educating young children.